Ismael Reyes Retana Tello

Partner, Mexico City


Focusing on “the real problem directly to propose solutions,” Reyes-Retana is “particularly experienced in regulatory work and administrative litigation in the telecoms arena.”
Chambers Latin America 2016


Ismael focuses on regulatory matters and administrative litigations, mainly related to the telecommunications sector.

Clients seek his counsel for his unique insider's perspective, gained through 25 years' experience working in the public sector, collaborating with agencies and entities of the Federal Public Administration.

Clients who benefit from Ismael's experience include major financial institutions and corporations, such as Telefónica, Televisa, KCSM, Satmex, the Confederation of Potato Producers, Cablevisión, Sicpa and NIC México, as well as sovereign governments, executives and directors.

Recent matters include Ismael's successful representation of the Mexican division of Telefónica, in a case heard by the Mexican Supreme Court, in which the court's ruling set a landmark precedent for the telecommunications industry in Mexico

Noteworthy in his experience is Ismael's achievement of novel injunctions in constitutional matters in which several aspects new to Mexican Law have been involved, such as, the defense of collective and fuzzy rights, and innovative means to secure standing of his clients in Courts.

During his time in the public sector, Ismael became a leading specialist in constitutional and administrative law in Mexico, acting first as Director General of Legal Studies of the Presidency, then as Deputy Legal Counsel to the President, and until 2008 as Federal Deputy Attorney General for Tax Matters and Deputy Counsel to the Ministry of Finance and Public Credit (Subprocurador Fiscal Federal).

Ismael served for nine years as the Presidential delegate before the Supreme Court of Justice of the Nation, managing constitutional controversies, and preparing legislative bills. While working for the Office of the Counsel to the President and the Office of the Federal Attorney General for Tax Matters, he helped to develop several initiatives of constitutional and legal reform, and to draft Presidential decrees.

Formerly a respected academic, Ismael served as Professor of Constitutional Law at the Universidad Panamericana and Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México (UNAM), Professor of Mexican Law History at the Universidad Iberoamericana, and Professor of Human Rights at the Instituto Nacional de Capacitación Penitenciaria.

Ismael is has authored several articles in trade magazines and newspapers, he has co-authored several books, and he was Publishing Advisor for the Reforma newspaper in 2006, 2008 and 2011.

Ismael has a strong reputation leading administrative disputes. Clients he represented praise: "his tremendous experience," and add: "He focuses on the real problem directly to propose solutions - he is open and listens to his clients." He is particularly experienced in regulatory work and administrative litigation in the telecoms arena." - Chambers LatAm 2016

Ismael has worked on a Pro Bono basis for Aid for Aids, Fundación Angélica Fuentes, Fundación Nantik Lum, Festival del Centro Histórico de la Ciudad de México and Comisión de Solidaridad y Defensa de los Derechos Humanos (Indígenas Rarámuris). He is trustee of the Board of Contemporary Art Patronage. (Patronato de Arte Contemporáneo).

Bars and Courts
Authorized to practice law in Mexico
Diplomatic Studies
Instituto Matias Romero
Program on Human Rights (Diplomado en Derechos Humanos)
Universidad Iberoamericana
Attorney at Law (Abogado)
Universidad Panamericana


Mexican potato farmers protecting local crops, 2014-2016
Ismael obtained a precedent-setting injunction against the import of fresh potatoes into Mexico which brought an end to a governmental policy that Mexican potato producers feared could have a devastating impact on their crops. In July 2016, a Federal Judge issued a final resolution favorable to Conpapa's interests. Based on "in dubio pro natura" principle, a District Court in the State of Sinaloa suppressed the importation of fresh potatoes based on the threat of danger to the environment in Mexico and to Mexican potato crops posed by the new ruling. Following the injunction, the new ruling will not be enforced in Mexico.

Mexican Federal Court Orders Government to Continue Teacher Evaluation, 2015
Ismael represents Aprender Primero, A.C., a Mexican NGO whose primary purpose is the promotion and defense of the right to education, in a constitutional trial against the controversial announcement by Mexico's Ministry of Education to suspend teachers' evaluations indefinitely. Teachers' evaluations are a key pillar of the government's education reform as well as a constitutional obligation to ensure the quality in the education rendered by public schools. The suspension of evaluations was widely interpreted by civil society groups as the government giving in to blackmail by certain sectors of the teachers' union on the eve of an election day, as well as a violation of the Federal Constitution. We challenged the suspension of the evaluations by means of a constitutional remedy ("amparo") and secured an injunction by a Federal Judge to order the continuation of the evaluations in light of the apparent constitutional violations. With this injunction, the Federal Court ordered the Government to retract the suspension and proceed with the evaluations.

Cancelación del proyecto Corredor Chapultpec, 2014
White & Case is representing a neighbourhood association in Mexico City which focused on the protection of rights to urbanisation, environmental protection and culture. Our commercial litigation team is advising this client in a constitutional dispute against the urban development project known as "Corredor Cultural Chapultepec-Zona Rosa" proposed by Mexico City Government. This project aims to significantly expand the area between Chapultepec-Zona Rosa through commercial development, but it does not ensure improved living conditions for the urban population in Mexico City. Based on the rights mentioned above, a Federal Judge granted an injunction in order to halt the implementation of the project until the City Government demonstrates it has completed all of the necessary administrative formalities and permits for the project.

Phone rates victory for Telefónica at Mexican Supreme Court, 2012
Ismael successfully represented the Mexican division of Telefónica, one of the world's largest telecommunication conglomerates, in a case heard by the Mexican Supreme Court. The court ruled that mobile termination rates which the Ministry of Communications and Transports (MCT) required Telefónica to charge should be voided. The court's ruling set a landmark precedent for the telecommunications industry in Mexico because it recognized the full independence of the Federal Telecommunications Commission (FTC) from the MCT, and gave mobile carriers more legal certainty.

'Plan' victory for Grupo Telefónica at Mexican Supreme Court, 2012
Ismael also represented Grupo Telefónica in a litigation that obtained a favorable ruling, pursuant to which several dispositions of the Plan Técnico Fundamental de Interconexión e Interoperabilidad ('Plan') issued by the FTC, were declared unconstitutional. Accordingly, Grupo Telefónica is the only telecommunications service provider in Mexico that is not required to comply with certain obligations set forth in the Plan. The Mexican Supreme Court issued a book entitled "Relevant Decisions", which describes the aforementioned litigations as the cornerstone for setting innovative precedents and criteria regarding the authority of the FTC as regulator of the telecommunications sector.

Representations against National Departments, States and Municipal Governments, 2008 – 2013
Ismael has been active in other defense pleadings representing entities of the financial system against acts of the National Banking and Securities Commission, the Ministry of Treasury and the National Insurance and Bonding Commission, as well as state and municipal governments. He obtained a number of notable favorable rulings, including in two legal actions (amparos) filed on behalf of almost all Mexican banks against legislation of the Federal District and the municipality of Guadalajara.


Ismael authored "UNO TV no es TV: Falló el Instituto Federal de Telecomunicaciones", published by Ed. Themis y BMA, 2016

Ismael wrote the foreword to "El Chamizal, a 50 años de su devolución", Edited by the General Committee of the Chamber of Deputies, 2014.

Authored an essay entitled "Endorsement of Broadcasting Concessions" for the Telecommunications Law Volume of the Obra Jurídica Enciclopédica, a collection of 43 volumes, published by Editorial Porrúa and the Escuela Libre de Derecho in tribute to the 100-year anniversary of the Escuela Libre de Derecho Law School.

Energy reform: Notes about the constitutionality of a the employment of third parties in refinign activities, Jurípolis, 2009, (La reforma energética: Apuntes sobre la constitucionalidad de la contratación de terceros en actividades de refinación)

Reflections regarding the interference of the Senate in the designation of employees of the Union, Nuestra Democracia, 2007, (Reflexiones en torno a la injerencia del Senado en el nombramiento de los empleados de la Unión)

The Federal Court of Tax and Administrative Justice LXX years after the Tax Law Enactment, Ed. Tribunal Federal de Justicia Fiscal y Administrativa, México, 5 volumes , 2006, (Tribunal Federal de Justicia Fiscal y Administrativa a los LXX años de la Ley de Justicia Fiscal) (collective work)

Historical development concerning the Presidents ability to make observations regarding the Federal Expense Budget, Revista Mexicana de Justicia , 2006, (Evolución histórica de la facultad del Presidente de la República para formula observaciones al Presupuesto de Egresos de la Federación)

The scope of the resolution related to the constitutional controversy 91/2003, Nuestra Democracia , 2005, (Alcances de la resolución de la controversia constitucional 91/2003)

Notes about the impacts of the resolutions regarding constitutional controversies and unconstitutionality actions, Jurípolis, 2005, (Apuntes sobre los efectos de las resoluciones en las controversias constitucionales y acciones de inconstitucionalidad)

Renewal of the judicial review system, Nuestra Democracia, 2005, (La renovación del sistema de control constitucional)

Proposals and diagnosis about the law enforcement system, Ed. Themis y Barra Mexicana de Abogados, 2 volumes, 2004, (Diagnóstico y propuestas sobre los sistemas de impartición de justicia)

Awards and Recognition

Leading Lawyer, The Legal 500 2014 – Latin America